Welcome to Birdquest

SOUTHERN INDIA

Including The Andaman Islands

Birdquest's Southern India birding tour combines two of the finest areas for birdwatching in the Indian Subcontinent. Our Southern India and Andamans tour concentrates on the many endemics of these two interesting areas, but also turns up a large number of more widespread species.

Sunday 17th December 2017 — Wednesday 26th December 2018
(375 days)


Andaman Islands Extension: Monday 11th December — Sunday 17th December (7 days)

Leader: Craig Robson

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking and comfortable accommodations throughout

This tour specifically targets the endemics and specialities of Peninsular India, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands. Many of the mainland endemics, such as the colourful Malabar Parakeet, are largely restricted to the Western Ghats (Dave Farrow)

This tour specifically targets the endemics and specialities of Peninsular India, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands. Many of the mainland endemics, such as the colourful Malabar Parakeet, are largely restricted to the Western Ghats (Dave Farrow)

The Indian subcontinent is one of the greatest birding destinations on the planet. Despite the accelerating pace of development, birds are still omnipresent, abundant and tame in a way that is unknown elsewhere in Asia. Even more importantly, the subcontinent has a veritable feast of special birds, and there is no region in this important part of Asia that is richer in endemics than Southern India and the Andaman Islands, which between them hold the extraordinary total of 58 endemic species!

Southern India is one of the jewels in the crown of Indian subcontinent birding. With 37 endemics (even more than possessed by Sri Lanka) and many more regional endemics shared only with Sri Lanka, it clearly commands attention. Southern India is also the region where the subcontinent’s distinctive culture is at its most intense, but compared to the more densely populated northern Indian states, the pace of life here is a little slower and gentler, and the lush, green countryside is somehow more vivid.

The endemic birds of southern India are very varied, ranging from the svelte Grey Junglefowl to three smart laughingthrushes and the perky Black-and-orange Flycatcher. Most of the endemics are restricted to the Western Ghats, a complex of forested hills and mountains that parallels the west coast of the peninsula and which have a profound effect on the region’s climate. Although situated far to the south of the Himalayas, they show strong ornithological affinities with them, many Himalayan forms reappearing here whilst occurring nowhere else in the peninsula. The Western Ghats may not be as high as the Himalayas, reaching only 2695m at their highest point, but they have their own unique splendour. An excellent system of national parks protects large tracts of pristine forest and grassland, and these in turn harbour good numbers of large mammals and a diverse avifauna, making birding in the region a delight.

During our exploration of this marvellous area, we will travel through the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and we have a good chance of finding all of the region’s key specialities. Our adventure will begin at the dry deciduous forests and open, scrubby country around Mudumalai, which harbour a wide range of specialities including Blue-faced Malkoha, White-cheeked Barbet, Malabar Lark, Grey-headed and White-browed Bulbuls, Yellow-billed Babbler, Indian Nuthatch and Nilgiri Flowerpecker.

We will then motor up to ‘Ooty’ (Ootacamund), a former colonial hill station in the Nilgiri Hills where the relict patches of forest hold specialities such as Grey Junglefowl, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Black-chinned (or Nilgiri) Laughingthrush, the spectacular Black-and-orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, White-spotted Fantail, Nilgiri Blue Robin and Indian Blackbird.

To the south, in the hills around Munnar, the rolling grasslands above the tea estates hold Nilgiri Pipit and the forested sholas and lower altitude relict forest patches provide a home for Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Kerala (or Grey-breasted) Laughingthrush, White-bellied Blue Robin and Crimson-backed (or Small) Sunbird.

Continuing south, we will search for the uncommon Yellow-throated Bulbul, while at Periyar National Park the specialities include Crested Hawk-Eagle, Malabar Parakeet, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Indian Swiftlet, the beautiful Malabar Trogon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Crimson-throated (or Malabar) Barbet, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Malabar Woodshrike, the shy Wynaad Laughingthrush, Rufous and Dark-fronted Babblers, Malabar Whistling Thrush, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar White-headed (or Blyth’s) Starling and Rufous-bellied Munia.

During the optional pre-tour extension we will explore the Andaman Islands. Lying around 1100 kilometres (nearly 700 miles) to the east of peninsular India, in the Andaman Sea, this archipelago is remote from the subcontinent and, indeed, is rather closer to southern Burma and Sumatra. This isolation is reflected in the avifauna, which has more affinities with the Malaysian subregion than with India. With 21 endemics (some shared with the Nicobar Islands), including five owls and such spectacular species as Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Woodpecker and Andaman Treepie, a visit to the Andaman Islands is a marvellous addition to this superb tour.

Birdquest has operated tours to southern India since 1985 and to Sri Lanka since 1995.

Important: The Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for most tours to this part of the Indian subcontinent. As much of the birding is in forest areas, this represents a significant advantage for our participants.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are of good standard throughout. Road transport is by small coach. Roads are variable in quality (averaging good to mediocre).

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are some moderate grade walks.

Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny at lower altitudes but cool or rarely even quite cold at higher altitudes. Overcast weather or early morning mist is not uncommon and some rain is possible at this season. It will be rather humid in coastal areas.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Tour Price: £2690, €3170, $3520 Bengaluru (Bangalore)/Kochi (Cochin). Andaman Islands Extension: £2190, €2590, $2870 (starting in Port Blair).

Price includes all transportation (including the Port Blair-Bengaluru (Bangalore) flight), all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £567, €669, $743. Andaman Islands Extension: £348, €411, $456.

Deposit: £300, €400, $450. Andaman Islands Extension: £200, €250, $300.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

As well as the endemic species, Southern India is also home to a number of endemic subspecies such as this highly distinctive race of Orange-headed Ground-Thrush (Dave Farrow)

As well as the endemic species, Southern India is also home to a number of endemic subspecies such as this highly distinctive race of Orange-headed Ground-Thrush (Dave Farrow)

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern India, is always a much-wanted species (Craig Robson)

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, which is endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern India, is always a much-wanted species (Craig Robson)

Wintering Indian Pittas always prove popular (Pat Wileman)

Wintering Indian Pittas always prove popular (Pat Wileman)

3 photos View Gallery Photos From SOUTHERN INDIA
White-bellied Blue Flycatcher is endemic to Southern India (Dave Farrow)

White-bellied Blue Flycatcher is endemic to Southern India (Dave Farrow)

Sometimes we find Sri Lanka Frogmouths at a daytime roost (Dave Farrow)

Sometimes we find Sri Lanka Frogmouths at a daytime roost (Dave Farrow)

Jungle Owlet looks cute but is a fierce predator of small birds (Dave Farrow)

Jungle Owlet looks cute but is a fierce predator of small birds (Dave Farrow)

The Andamans are home to a number of endemics including Andaman Serpent-Eagle (Dave Farrow)

The Andamans are home to a number of endemics including Andaman Serpent-Eagle (Dave Farrow)

... Andaman Woodpecker (Dave Farrow)

... Andaman Woodpecker (Dave Farrow)

... and Andaman Drongo (Dave Farrow)

... and Andaman Drongo (Dave Farrow)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

top of page

Website crafted by the Accent Design Group.

Valid CSS| Level A compliant on bobby| 508 compliant on bobby| Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional|